National Fascist Party


National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
Partito Nazionale Fascista
Historic Leader Benito Mussolini
Founded November 9, 1921
Dissolved July 27, 1943
Preceded by Fasci Italiani di Combattimento
Succeeded by Republican Fascist Party
Headquarters Rome, Italy
Newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia
Youth wing Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL)
Paramilitary wing Camicie Nere (CCNN)
Ideology Fascism (Italian)
Political position Far right
International affiliation None
Official colors Black
Party flag
Italian Fascist flag 1930s-1940s.svg
Politics of Italy
Political parties
Elections

The National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista; PNF) was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism (previously represented by groups known as Fasci; see also Italian Fascism). The party ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under an authoritarian system that described itself as totalitarian, even though, according to today's criteria, it was not.

It is currently the only party whose reformation is explicitly banned by the Constitution of Italy: "it shall be forbidden to reorganize, under any form whatever, the dissolved fascist party" ("Transitory and Final Provisions", Disposition XII) This paragraph may also apply to the later Republican Fascist Party.

Contents

Policy

The policies of the National Fascist Party evolved over time. Initially the party harboured anti-clerical and republican values, but always maintained a nationalist agenda combined with degrees of statism and fervent anti-communism. The party adopted large elements of its policies from the authoritarian wing of the former Italian Nationalist Association. The party officially abandoned all republican values when trying to earn the support of the monarchy to form a government. Also, upon coming to power, the party eventually abandoned anti-clerical policies for the tactical purpose of gaining the support of Catholic groups, and later under Mussolini the PNF endorsed the signing of the Lateran Treaty which created the Vatican City and normalized relations between Italy and the Church which had been badly damaged since the forced annexation of the Papal States in 1870.

Economics

In power, the party attempted to form an economic policy that was a "third way" between capitalism and socialism, this was called Corporatism. In theory, trade unions and businesses would unite to form a cooperative organization to establish wages, hours of labour, and other issues. However when attempted to be put into practice, corporatism was heavily criticized by the industries who had provided financing in the past to Mussolini to protect them from socialism, and demanded that he keep the labour movement weakened to maintain their support, to which Mussolini and the party agreed, causing corporatism to favour businesses over workers who could be in only Fascist unions.

Foreign policy

In foreign policy, the party promised to return Italy to being an important world power, and claimed that Italy would become a New Roman Empire by having Italy militarily dominate the Mediterranean as part of their policy of "Mare Nostrum" ("Our Sea") and push for colonial expansion in Africa. The Fascists' inter-war period interventionist approach brought Italy to occupy the Greek island of Corfu in 1923, the regime allowed the annexation of the Italian occupied city of Fiume in 1924, and from the 1920s to 1934, the regime succeeded in negotiations with Britain and France in expanding the Italian colonies of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan until they were formally unified into the colony of Italian Libya in 1934.

In 1935, the party advocated and proceeded to bring Italy into a colonial war with Ethiopia. The war was meant as an act of restoring Italian national pride on the international stage that had been damaged in Italy's failure to win a previous colonial war with Ethiopia in 1896.

The war with Ethiopia succeeded in 1936, but left Italy isolated with only one other country supporting Italy, Germany under the NSDAP regime of Adolf Hitler. Although Hitler's Nazi Party was largely similar and to a significant degree based on that of the PNF, the two ideologies in both countries had differences. Fascists distrusted Hitler's aims at annexing Austria as they feared the next target would be German-populated areas of Italian-held Tyrol, moreover Austrian independence protected Italy from any such aggression, and Austria's fascist regime had maintained good relations with Italy so that in 1934, following the assassination of Austrian leader Engelbert Dollfuss by Austrian Nazis, Mussolini and the PNF promised Austria military support if Germany attempted annexation. Also, unlike the NSDAP Party, the PNF did not support anti-Semitism as a number of its members were Jewish, including Mussolini's mistress and PNF propaganda director Margherita Sarfatti, and Ettore Ovazza who in 1935 founded the Jewish Fascist paper La Nostra Bandiera ("Our Flag").[1] Nevertheless, the two regimes stood eye-to-eye on other policy issues, such as both regimes' opposition to the Treaty of Versailles and both regimes' fervent anti-communism and interventionist attitude toward combatting communist influence.

It was anti-communist sentiment that brought the two regimes to ally in the Axis Pact in 1936, and support the nationalist forces of Francisco Franco in Spain against leftist republican forces during the Spanish Civil War. In 1938, Mussolini (himself also forced by Nazi officials) pressured the PNF to implement anti-Semitic racial policies, the Manifesto of Race, to maintain good relations with Germany to which they reluctantly agreed. These measures were opposed by a number of Fascists including Mussolini's son-in-law and foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano.

A famous Jewish apologist for the National Fascist Party abroad was Margherita Sarfatti, a mistress of Mussolini's, who until 1938 defended the regime in the United States and Great Britain.

History

Founded in Rome on November 9, 1921, it marked the transformation of the paramilitary Fasci Italiani di Combattimento into a more coherent political group (the Fasci di Combattimento had been founded by Mussolini in Milan's Piazza San Sepolcro, on March 23, 1919).

The PNF was instrumental in directing and popularizing support for Mussolini's ideology. In the early years, groups within the PNF called Blackshirts built a base of power by violently attacking socialists and their institutions in the rural Po Valley thereby gaining the support of landowners.

The PNF was the main agent of an attempted coup d'état on October 28, 1922, the March on Rome. Even though the coup failed in giving power directly to the PNF, it nonetheless resulted in a parallel agreement between Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III that made Mussolini the head of the Italian government.

After the drastic modifying of electoral legislation (the Acerbo Law), the PNF clearly won the highly controversial elections of April 1924. In early 1925, Mussolini dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a total dictatorship. From that point onward, the PNF was effectively the only legally permitted party in the country. This status was formalized by a law passed in 1928 and Italy remained a one-party state until the end of the Fascist regime in 1943.

After taking sole power, the Fascist regime began to impose Fascist ideology and symbolism throughout the country. Party membership in the PNF became necessary to seek employment or gain government assistance. The fasces adorned public buildings, Fascist mottos and symbols were displayed on art, and a personality cult was created around Mussolini as the nation's saviour and was called "Il Duce", "The Leader". The Italian parliament was replaced in duties by the Grand Council of Fascism solely filled with PNF members. The PNF promoted Italian imperialism in Africa and staunchly promoted racial segregation and white supremacy of Italian settlers in the colonies.

The Grand Council of Fascism, following a request of Dino Grandi, overthrew Mussolini on July 25, 1943 by asking the king to resume his full authority in officially removing Mussolini as prime minister, which he did, and Mussolini was imprisoned; however, the Fascists immediately collapsed and the party was officially banned by Pietro Badoglio's government on July 27.

After the Nazi-engineered Gran Sasso raid liberated Mussolini in September, the PNF was revived as the Republican Fascist Party (Partito Fascista Repubblicano - PFR; September 13), as the single party of the Northern and Nazi-protected Italian Social Republic (the Salò Republic). Its secretary was Alessandro Pavolini. The PFR did not outlast Mussolini's execution and the disappearance of the Salò state in April 1945.

Secretaries of the PNF

  • Michele Bianchi (November 1921 - January 1923)
  • multiple presidency (January 1923 - October 1923)
Triumvirate: Michele Bianchi, Nicola Sansanelli, Giuseppe Bastianini
  • Francesco Giunta (October 15, 1923 - April 22, 1924)
  • multiple presidency (April 23, 1924 - February 15, 1925)
Quadrumvirate: Roberto Forges Davanzati, Cesare Rossi, Giovanni Marinelli, Alessandro Melchiorri

Election results

Election date Party leader Number of votes received Percentage of votes Number of deputies
1921 Benito Mussolini 31,000 0.5% 2
1924 Benito Mussolini 4,305,936 61.3% 356
1929 Benito Mussolini 8,517,838 98.33% 535
1934 Benito Mussolini 10,026,513 99.84% 535

Party symbols

Slogans

  • Il Duce! (The Leader!)
  • Viva il Duce! (Long live the Leader!)[2]
  • Eja, eja, alalà! (Equivalent in English to Hip, hip, hooray!)
  • Viva la morte (Long live death [sacrifice])
  • Credere, obbedire, combattere ("Believe, obey, fight")
  • Libro e moschetto - fascista perfetto (Book and rifle - make the perfect Fascist)
  • Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State)
  • Se avanzo, seguitemi. Se indietreggio, uccidetemi. Se muoio, vendicatemi (If I advance, follow me. If I retreat, kill me. If I die, avenge me)
  • Me ne frego (I don't give a damn)
  • La libertà non è diritto è un dovere (Liberty is not a right it is a duty)
  • Noi tireremo diritto (literally We will go straight or We shall go forward)
  • La guerra è per l'uomo, come la maternità è per la donna (War is to man, as motherhood is to woman)[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Peter Egill Brownfeld (Fall 2003). "The Italian Holocaust: The Story of an Assimilated Jewish Community". The American Council for Judaism. http://www.acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=300. Retrieved 23 March 2011. "Ovazza started a Jewish fascist newspaper, "La Nostra Bandiera" (Our Flag) in an effort to show that the Jews were among the regime's most loyal followers." 
  2. ^ Smith, Denis M. Mussolini: A Biography. 1983. New York: Vintage Books. p176
  3. ^ Sarti, Roland. 1974. The Ax Within: Italian Fascism in Action. New York: New Viewpoints. p187.

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